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Washington Nationals 2012 Preview Q&A With Up Along First.

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I did an email interview with Connor O'Brien, a 14-year-old New York Mets writer who runs the site, "Up Along First." It was part of the site's offseason review of the Washington Nationals' winter. I answered a few questions about what the Nats were able to accomplish during the Hot Stove season and what lies ahead in the 2012 campaign:

Connor O'Brien: Over/Under: 75 wins for the Nationals this season?

Federal Baseball: Over. I think the Nationals will improve again this season, though how far over last season’s 80 wins they get will depend a lot on how healthy they’re able to stay. The Nationals’ pitching should be significantly improved, the bullpen was strong last year and should benefit from the addition of a veteran presence like Brad Lidge if he can get back to 100%. But the Nationals need Adam LaRoche to stay healthy, they need Ryan Zimmerman to play a full-year without any injuries, they need Jayson Werth to improve significantly and they need Ian Desmond to finally put it together offensively. They also need a center fielder at least until Bryce Harper‘s up in the Nationals’ outfield. I think there’s tremendous potential for the Nats to compete this season, but everything has to go their way and 85-90 wins in the NL East is not going to be easy, but they should top 75 wins again. Can they top last year’s 3rd place finish? It won’t be easy in this division.

• Read the rest of the Q&A HERE. And thanks again to Connor for asking.